Reporting Rick Dayton
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It is going to be a very busy weekend for sports in Pittsburgh.
The NHL playoffs resume at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Pirates open a home stand at PNC Park.
The Steelers open their rookie mini-camp on the South Side, and the Pittsburgh Marathon will race through the streets on Sunday morning.
So it’s fitting that a couple of former Steelers hand out their Locker Room Award to a former Pirate.
“Every Wednesday he leads the guys in the program in exercise and fitness. He interacts with those guys, and they just love him,” says former Steeler offensive lineman Tunch Ilkin. Ilkin has volunteered at the Light of Life Mission on the North Side since his playing days in the 80’s.
Friday morning, he and former teammate Craig Wolfley gave their award to former All-Star Sean Casey. His weekly fitness class at the Mission all started when he lead some men at the mission on a walk. It has greatly expanded.
“Now we do a ton of stuff. we go over to the Y there and the two other guys John Dennis and Mike Ruby that do it with me are just as deserving. So I think I almost feel embarrassed to get an award for this.”
Casey says he learned the ropes about the Mission’s work from Ilkin and Wolfley. Like Ilkin, Wolfley has been involved with the charity for decades.
“They are all worthwhile. They all have a great worthiness to them but this is one of the, what do you say, not so celebrated charities and it’s people reaching out and it’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up.”
Casey has great admiration for the amount of time and effort Ilkin and Wolfley give to the Mission. “You heard Tunch and Wolf talk about how long they have been involved — you know they really impact people’s lives and they really impact men who are trying to get their lives back on track.”
Ilkin says he faith plays a very large role in why he continues to support the Light of Life. “Jesus said ‘Even as you have done this to the least of these, you have done them unto me,’ so I think at least for me my heart breaks for the poor and I think the reason my heart breaks for the poor and many people’s hearts break for the poor is because God’s heart breaks for the poor.”